Warner Bros’ not-so ‘Fantastic Beasts’ brings problems for Harry Potter film franchise

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Prior to the release of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” the future of the “Harry Potter” spinoff franchise was thrown into doubt.

Legal issues amongst its cast, creator JK Rowling’s TERF status and struggles at the box office forced Warner Brothers to question if the franchise was a worthy investment. “Secrets of Dumbledore” released April 15 and almost certainly failed to meet its box office goals after bringing in $280 million on a $200 million budget so far.

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While not as big a narrative cluster-headache as its predecessor, the plot is still a mess.

The so-called “Secrets of Dumbledore” (the “secret” being that Dumbledore is gay) have no impact on the film and depending on what country you see the film, you may never find out the “secret.”

While easier to track this time, Rowling’s writing is off. After spending a movie on “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” said crimes are hand-waved because wizards really seem to like genocide. The film revolves around stopping Grindelwald’s plan to become supreme mugwump by brainwashing Magic-Bambi, who apparently determines wizard democracy. It’s not good.

Rowling’s transition from childhood icon to an advocate against transgender rights soured many to the series, including Melanie Barrientos Sanchez, a freshman communications major.

“I think it definitely poisoned the well for any future projects. Since the original Harry Potter series was ingrained in the childhood of many, I don’t think anything can take that away. As for her latest projects, I already find many of the plotlines borderline offensive and baity,” Barrientos Sanchez said.

If you were looking for some nightmare fuel, here’s something Rowling has boxed herself into addressing.

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Grindelwald is magic-Hitler; but unlike other surrogate Hitlers, Rowling has written her surrogate’s reign to occur in 1920-40s Europe. If this franchise pushes its timeline forward anymore Rowling will have no choice but to explain what exactly her genocidal maniac was doing at the time.

Judging by Grindelwald’s sympathetic end in “Harry Potter,” let’s hope we never find out.

Also, Grindelwald in this series has not worked compared to Voldermort. Maybe it’s the nature of prequels, Rowling’s writing or previous Grindelwald Johnny Depp’s complicated legal situation hanging over the film.

But the simplest answer is often right; the biggest issue is that Grindelwald was played by three different actors in three films. Depp reveals himself eventually, but Colin Farrell played undercover Grindelwald for almost the entire first film.

Each plays the role well, but like most of the series, events off the screen prevent any momentum. Even without Depp, this continued with star Ezra Miller.

Over the past month, Miller has strung together several troubling arrests. Miller was arrested for harassing patrons of a karaoke bar, arrested again for second-degree-assault after hitting a woman in the head with a chair and threatened to murder a couple, resulting in a restraining order.

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Should Warner Brothers choose to sever ties, Miller’s character Credence was essentially killed off in “Secrets of Dumbledore.” Warner Brother’s other tentpole franchise, DC, unfortunately, would have a much harder time removing “Flash” from its roster.

Somehow, there are still more people to talk about! Kevin Guthrie, who played Abernathy, was removed from the franchise because he is currently in prison for sexual assault.

If there’s one saving grace for this *stellar* production, it is that there is genuinely no reason for it to continue, something Sanchez would agree on.

“I would not like to see any future Rowling project. Her exposed bigotry, the lazy writing and Depp recasting all make me say ‘End it already.’ I didn’t even see the point in releasing the newest movie.”

Featured image courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons.